Oppenheimer: Death, the Destroyer of Worlds#


We waited until the blast had passed, walked out of the shelter and then it was extremely solemn. We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed; a few people cried. Most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita; Vishnu is trying to persuade the prince that he should do his duty, and to impress him, takes on his multiarmed form and says, “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” I suppose we all thought that, one way or another.


What is likely Oppenheimer’s most famous quote. It was uttered in the course of an interview which appeared in The Decision to Drop the Bomb (1965); a documentary produced by Fred Freed, NBC White Paper[1] [2].

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